This is a blog about depression. If you are easily offended or take offence to my very sarcastic humour, please do not read any further. Mental illness is not a joke; it is not something to point fun at and I fully understand that. BUT…when the going gets tough, sarcasm and humour is my defence and so I will be parading it around all over this blog.
If you need help, please get it. Whilst I hope this has a happy ending, I don’t know yet and given I’ve not been able to fix myself, I really don’t want others using this as a ‘How To Be Happy for Beginners v2.0’
I wake up before my alarm and morning meds today. I feel like I slept through the night which is good, hopefully it’s a sign for how the day will go. I was going to get up, have breakfast and a shower but then I hear there is no hot water. Well then, the world has made my decision for me, I’ll have a lie in! Iced spiced bun for breakfast it will be. I do wash face and brush my teeth though, yahoo me! The teeth brushing wasn’t really an option, they’d reached the point where the fuzz on them was growing at a quick enough rate, the teeth were going to leave my mouth of their own accord. Depression isn’t glamourous! You may remember that my hair is also in dire need of some TLC in the shower. It’s most definitely hit ‘McDonald’s fries’ greasy. Oh well, nothing I can do about it if there’s no hot water (a very convenient excuse!).
1100 session and Patient K and I look at surviving in the big wide world once we are freed. We start listing out everything that is safe and secure here and see what that would look like on the outside world. This experience has taught me I am very loved by my friends. I have had tremendous support for which I am very grateful. I hope my friendship group is ready for a visitor!
I lunch alone as I’m feeling quite blue. Today’s menu is veggie sausage and mash with mustard followed by take away chocolate fudge cake. I sit in my room with dessert as I am feeling my mood is dropping and I can’t face people. This isn’t a good sign. I start panicking about getting everything done. In my mind, I’ve set myself a rule that I have to finish the 3 fiendish Sudoku’s left in the book before I go home. This is silly, obviously, but it doesn’t make the rule any less real. I look through my obsessive plan for the weekend when I’m out in the real world when I realise the date. I know I’ve been here a month but somehow, I thought the world was still in February. It’s my sister’s hen party in 10 days. A hen party I am meant to be organising. A hen party that I have most definitely NOT been organising whilst in hospital. How have I let this slip my mind? I only have 1 sister, I only have 1 shot at arranging the perfect party for her. I’m known as bridesmaid-zilla by my colleagues at work after my incessant excel organising of a friend’s hen party. Yet for my own sister I have done the grand total of 3 skype calls with her best friend and that was 5 weeks ago. Shit. As you know by now, I am an excel living and breathing addict. No excel sheet is going to fix this.
I try to focus on the final 3 Sudoku puzzles in the hope they will calm me down prior to IPT. I’m not sure how successful this has been as I climb the stairs to group slowly. I am last to check in having strategically sat myself closest to the door – easy escape you see, in case I need to run away from my emotions. I explain I am panicking and feel I am on the verge of a panic attack. No points for guessing that the snotty tears start up and to add to this, the noisy hyperventilating seems to have come along to liven this up too. Patient D3 passes me the tissues. Mistake! My body seems to have acknowledged this act of kindness as permission to turn the waterworks up to full notch. Now I am panicking I can’t get my breath so I hyperventilate a bit more. As you can see, this isn’t a great cycle to get stuck in. Through said snotty tears and noisy hyperventilating I somehow splutter out how much I’ve let my sister down. The group, as ever, are lovely to me. They tell me I am ill, she’ll understand, her friends can help, all that will matter is that I am there, etc etc. This is great guys but there is a minor detail you are unaware of… I won’t be at the wedding! No one will be. Only two strangers as their witnesses. They are eloping to another country so as to avoid some difficult family politics. Now do you see why this is a big deal? This is my only chance to show her how much she means to me. I want to be the hostess with the mostest, composed and in complete control of 10 women and a lot of champagne. Time to fire off an urgent text to Friend AH who is helping and knows my current situation.
I’m not ready to go home. If the insurance were to say they’d cover another week, I’d sign in blood right here, right now. It’s not that I want to stay in hospital, it’s that I am scared how I am going to cope at home. On top of trying to cope at home, I now have to try and pull together a hen party. This feels too much. I am so frustrated at myself. I used to be able to cope with things in life, now I feel like a feeble wreck. I start to calm down so at least the animalistic noises coming from my end of the room have stopped. Therapist G asks if it can be ok that instead of being bridesmaid-zilla and arranging the perfect hen party, can I live with being ‘the sister’ and just ‘the sister’. No Therapist G, do you not remember me at all? I know what you are saying but this is big stuff. If I am not perfect, how will it all be ok? This area of me evidently needs a lot more work. Note to self, your sister loves you and nothing will change that.
Patient J3 would like to start a blog but he’s anxious as he’s dyslexic. Me too Patient J3! If you’ve read more than 1 of my posts you’ll have come across the array of spelling and grammar mistakes. Also, whilst we are on this, why is the word dyslexic so difficult to spell? I mean, think about it, a group of people who struggle with spelling and sentence forming are told they have something that is terribly difficult to spell. Thanks for that.
I survive the whole session without needing to make a hasty exit and I head back to the ward. Nurse A tells me I have a visitor waiting in the ward lounge. A visitor? I don’t remember anyone telling me they were coming today. In fact, I’ve got a massage in 8 minutes, so I’ve evidently double booked. It’s R3 who has come to surprise me again! It’s so good to see her. She’s doing well and whilst she’s had ups and downs, she is surviving, which is the most important thing. Oh R3, you give me hope that I am going to be ok on the outside too!
I head for my massage in the hope she’ll massage away my worries. She’s brilliant but the worries are still there. It’s conveniently occupied an hour of the day though. This week seems to be passing so slowly, which is great on the one hand but it seems to be taunting my anxiety about going home on the other hand. Looking round questionable carpet room post massage and the task of packing flickers across my mind. A lot of stuff has made its way into the room over the last 4 weeks but not a lot has made it out of the room. This poses a conundrum. I only have 1 suitcase and as you may recall from my spa outing, the suitcase gremlins are a real problem for me. I live on the top floor of my building. This isn’t going to be fun. I toy with the idea of making two trips home, one tonight with clothes I don’t need, some of the generous gifts I’ve been sent etc and then one on Friday. That feels like a lot of hard work though. Hard work that I don’t feel up to doing. One of the many items that has made its way in are some new slipper I bought myself. They arrived a couple of weeks ago. For the last couple of weeks, they’ve sat, unwrapped under a chair in questionable carpet room. I’ve not wanted to wear them yet as I want to keep them ‘perfect’. Yes, this concept of things being perfect even goes as far as my slippers. I know this getting better stuff is going to take a while but I do wish it would hurry up as I’d like to get over my need for perfect and start wearing these bad boys. The come with slip on soles too so I can even use them for the weekend coffee trips I’ve promised myself.
Supper tonight is spent alone and it’s not good. Tofu glass noodles and pudding that I seem to have forgotten. That was underwhelming.
CCN (crazy cat Nurse) is on duty and has realised I’ve not done my daily risk assessment or obs. She has also been tasked with the daily chat. I explain that I am worried about my mum getting home today. Yes, my mum STILL thinks this was merely a short and sweet stay in a clinic for mindfulness and yoga. She is therefore expecting her youngest daughter to be at home tonight, having been in the city sat at a desk all day. You see my dilemma? I know, I am going to have to tell her the truth, there is only so much time at a yoga and mindfulness retreat she’ll buy into. How is she going to cope with the news that her youngest child, the one she thinks of as the sensible one, the one that endlessly sorts out her practicalities has actually been locked in a psychiatric hospital for a month and is only leaving because the insurance has run out. I mean, obviously, there are some details about this whole episode that can be conveniently left out the conversation: the suicide plan, the updated Will & Wishes so my family were taken care of, the hiding of secrets that I would never want her to know about. These can be tucked away neatly inside my head to protect her. Some of the basics however, cannot. I can’t deal with it today. Instead, I send the second emergency text of the day, this time to my sister, I need her to hold mum off from calling me until I am home. This emergency text is sent just at the same second my phone starts vibrating. It’s mum. Shit. Bad daughter moment, I pick up the phone, stare at the screen then divert the call to answer phone. Mum, I love you so very much but right now I can’t deal with lying to you.
I’m shattered, I hope Dr. E doesn’t come by too late. I’m not sure I can face the write ups for the blog but if I leave them, I am only procrastinating a task that I find helpful in my recovery. Can I do this? Exhausted… even typing is challenging…must…not…fall…asleep. Then my phone starts to annoyingly vibrate again, I’m guessing this is mum again and almost don’t bother to turn the phone over. But I do, and that’s when the next emotional shock of the night pops up, it’s my dad. I don’t answer, if I had, this is what I wish I’d have the guts to say:
Oh hi, yes, I am your youngest child! You know, the one you’ve not spoken too in ~6 weeks. The one you have no clue about and who is currently in a psychiatric hospital. Oh yes, oh hello, that’s me. Well, stuff you!
I don’t answer, I take the cowards option and let it ring out. He’s left me a voicemail. I can’t face listening to it tonight so I ignore it.
The night staff come on duty and say their hello’s, I’ve asked for my meds as early as possible in the hope I’ll fall asleep earlier. The nurse kindly gives me a lecture about my coke zero all lined up on the table. Yes, I know it contains aspartame, yes, I know it rots the gut, no I don’t really care right now, I’ve got bigger things to worry about. In a bid to take in some of the things I’ve learnt here, I went and bought a new pocket notebook for my compliments log. Yes, I am going to start writing down compliments I am given in the hope that I will take them on board. So, compliments log open guys, start sending them in! Maybe this will ease the aspartame guilt.
Do I dare get in the shower and risk missing Dr E? Do I wait until after she’s been? Do I pretend I’ll do it in the morning when we all know I won’t? Tomorrow would be new territory in greasy hair terms, I once read hair can wash itself if left long enough… could this be true? Can I come full circle and be so dirty I am actually clean? The call comes through from Dr E, she’s on her way… I’ll shower after her visit! Maybe a new colouring page can wait until tomorrow though.
Dr E and I review my plans for the weekend. She assures me feeling anxious is a ‘Normal’ emotion to have. She’d be worried if I wasn’t nervous. We talk about the two calls I’ve ignored tonight. When it comes to my dad, Dr E doesn’t have good things to say. We agree I’ll hold off listening to the voicemail until Monday, in my 1:1 with her. As for mum, she’s got a challenge for me. Mum’s texted and wants to come to London to see me (although still not aware I’m in hospital). I don’t think I can face it. Dr E wants me, not my sister, to tell her this. Ok, I hear you, I need to set my boundaries but do I need to do it now? As I’m getting ready to go home? Yes, apparently, I do. This isn’t going to be fun. I again take the cowards way out and send her a text with all the soothing, happy language I can muster.
Once Dr E has left, I make a break for it and ask for the hairdryer. I’m committed to the shower now, I can’t give the hairdryer back if my hair is still greasy. Ah, the shower feels good! Hair dried, body cleaned and moisturised and the final task of the night is to return the hairdryer. This is better than I thought, I manage to crack a joke with the nurse. This is more like the Patient C I know, jokes are a good sign I am moving in the right direction.
I decide not to start a new colouring page today but I’ve picked out the one I will start. Instead, I will scroll through some mindless pages on the internet before tucking myself up with Pixar’s The Incredibles. One of the pages I flick through tells me that yogurt can treat depression (yet another marvellous article by the highly esteemed Daily Mail). If this were true, I shouldn’t be depressed, I’ve eaten a lot of yogurt. I’m going to take this article with the pinch of salt I should apparently not be having. So, penultimate night in questionable carpet room and I’m hoping it’s a good night’s sleep. Fingers crossed.